WW1A: Norway, France and Hungary level on points at the top
by Henrik MANNINEN|25 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
Norway kept its cool to move top of the standings of the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship Division I Group A tournament in Klagenfurt, Austria. On day three the Scandinavian edged Hungary 2-1 to claim their second straight shootout win and remains the only unbeaten team. France rallied back on three occasions to beat Austria 5-3. The Netherlands beat Korea to record its first victory.

The teams have a day off on Thursday before resuming a full round of games on Friday. France then faces Korea, the Netherlands takes on Norway and Austria will play neighbours Hungary.

Hungary 1 - Norway 2 SO

Millie Rose Sirum boomed home a slapshot winner in the eighth round of penalty shots versus Hungary. Norway remains undefeated after three games as Hungary suffers its first defeat.

Norway´s Mathea Fischer and Zsofia Pazmandi of Hungary also converted in the shootout.

Having considerably shored up their rearguard since last year, promotion hopes are alive and kicking for the Scandinavians. Andre Lysenstoen´s coached team currently sits top of the group after three rounds with the Netherlands and Korea left to play against.

Norway most recently played at the Women´s Worlds in 1997 when the Canadian Province of Ontario hosted the tournament.

Top-ranked Hungary has outshot all of their three opponents in Klagenfurt. So far such superiority has only resulted in five goals scored. Pat Cortina´s Hungary faces Austria next before France awaits in the final game.

Versus Norway, 14-3 shots in favour of the Hungarians yielded no goals in the opening period. Instead, Norway showed how it should be done in the middle frame. Fischer, one out of eleven on the Norwegian roster playing in neighbouring Sweden, broke the deadlock when reacting ahead of blueliner Fruzsina Mayer to tip a point shot home from Emma Bergesen pass at 34:01.

Norway´s opener was also the first goal conceded by Hungary and its netminder Aniko Nemeth in Klagenfurt after 154:01 minutes of play.

Hungary drew level with 5:39 left of regular time when converting on their best powerplay during the game. Madelen Haug Hansen was sitting out for tripping as the Hungarians piled on the pressure. Franciska Kiss-Simon´s slapshot from the top of the left faceoff circle saw Reka Dabasi battle for the rebound to feed Alexandra Huszak who slotted in 1-1.

Norway´s Ida Haave boomed a slapshot off the post in the closing stages of the third period. Huszak then pinged one off the crossbar during overtime, before Norway once again prevailed in a shootout.

Korea 1 - Netherlands 3

Third-period goals by Jet Milders and Savine Wielenga lifted the Netherlands to its first victory at the Heidi Horten Arena.

Kayleigh Hamers also tallied for the Dutch, while Yunha Song scored Korea´s historical first goal at this level.

Both teams went into their third game of WW1A looking for their first points. In an even first period, Hamers had played a one-two with Wielenga from down low and then won the battle with Korea´s Eunji Lee to bury the puck from the slot under the arm of netminder Jongju Park at 14:40.

16 players on the Korea roster skated on the team winning promotion from WW1B last season. One of those, Yunha Song was their best player versus the Dutch.

he had instigated the flying move leading to Korea levelling the score before finishing it off herself when forcing the puck over the line following Eline Gabriele´s rebound from Taeyeon Kim´s shot after 34:08. The goal was given following a video review and met with unbridled joy from the Korean camp celebrating their inaugural goal at this level.

The Netherlands imposed their authority as the game wore on. Milders converted high past Park from the slot to once again go ahead at 45:25. With 1:50 left to play, Korea´s head coach Do-yun Kim pulled Park from the net to add a sixth skater. Dutch captain Wielenga then slotted in an empty netter from close-range with eight seconds from time.

France 5 - Austria 3

Estelle Duvin tallied a hat-trick plus an assist as France fought back thrice to defeat Austria.

Despite being dominated by the Austrians at the start of the third period, two quickfire goals in just 48 seconds by Duvin and Emma Nonnenmacher turned the game in France´s favour.

In a make-or-break game for the Austrians, Lena Daubock settled any nerves midway through the opening period when converting their opener at the back post of France´s netminder Justine Crousy Theode after fine work by the in-form Annika Fazokas.

In a moment of brilliance, Duvin tied the game at 14:05 when picking out the top corner on Selma Luggin´s catcher side to tie the game. France´s Chloe Aurard soon after hit a wrister off the post.

With the crowd cheering the hosts on, Austria once again went in front early in the middle frame. Dominant on the faceoffs, Schafzahl won a draw in the French zone and then tapped home a rebound from an Emma Hofbauer drive as France conceded their first tournament goal on a penalty kill.

France hit back once again as Clara Rozier deflected a Duvin pass from the point past Luggin´s for 2-2 at 34:45.

Schafzahl scored her second of the evening as Austria re-gained their lead for the third time at 42:27. Soon after she fired a one-timer off the post as the Austrians pressed firmly to try and stretch their lead.

Instead, France´s lethal top-line took centre stage as Duvin threw herself into the slot to net from a Rozier pass. Nonnenmacher then tallied from a wrister from the left point with net-front presence. In the dying moments, Selma Luggin was pulled from the Austrian net as Duvin completed her hat-trick with an empty net goal.